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Saudi Arabian police ‘pounce on woman defying drive ban’

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:35 EDT
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Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif, who now lives in Dubai, drives her car in the Gulf Emirate city (AFP)
 
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Saudi police on Saturday pulled over a woman minutes after she got behind the wheel in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after activists called for a new challenge to a driving ban.

“Only 10 minutes after Tamador al-Yami got behind the wheel police stopped her,” activist Eman al-Nafjan told AFP, adding that Yami carries an international driving licence and was with another woman who was filming her in the car.

Tamador’s husband was called to the scene and she was forced to sign a pledge not to drive again without a Saudi licence, said Nafjan on her Twitter account.

Women are not allowed into driving schools in the ultra-conservative kingdom are not granted licences.

Elsewhere in Khobar, in Eastern Province, another woman drove for two hours, accompanied by her husband, without being stopped, Nafjan said.

Activists say Saturday was chosen as a “symbolic” date as part of efforts first launched more than a decade ago to press for the right for Saudi women to drive.

The call for action is a “reminder of the right so it is not forgotten,” activist Nasima al-Sada had told AFP.

The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, a rule that has drawn international condemnation.

Saturday’s action is a continuation of a campaign launched on October 26, when 16 activists were stopped by police for defying the ban.

In addition to not being allowed to drive, Saudi women must cover themselves from head to toe and need permission from a male guardian to travel, work and marry.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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